An explanation of what performance anxiety is and examples when you might experience it
Feeling excessively nervousness or anxious about an upcoming performance.
It comes from worrying that:
- You will perform poorly, and consequently
- You (and perhaps others) will have to deal with an undesirable outcome.
The mind typically become preoccupied with (some version of) the thought:
Examples of when someone might feel performance anxiety include:
- Sports competition,
- School test or quiz,
- Asking someone out on a date or to dance,
- Hoping someone will like a gift you bought for them,
- Job interview,
- Public speaking,
- (hence why performance anxiety is also known as ‘stage fright’)
- Performing in play or a concert.
Here we will primarily focus on performance anxiety in sports scenarios.
Quick Disclaimer: There Are Varying Degrees of Anxiety
There is more to temperature than just hot and cold
There is a whole spectrum of points in-between.
For example: the spring-time temperature in many cities. Although the specific temperature fluctuates day to day,
- Some cities are consistently warm to warmish – like Los Angeles;
- While others are usually cool-ish to cool – like Denver; and
- Others span a greater range from warm to cool on any given day – like San Francisco.
Additionally, the average temperature in each of those cities changes depending on the season.
Of course there are places that are pretty much always hot (like Hawaii), and ones that are always cold (like Antarctica).
Similarly, athletes experience varying degrees of anxiety
At the Antarctica end of the spectrum
You’ve got a tiny number of athletes that barely feel any anxiety. They’re like the Buckingham Palace guards that remain unfazed no matter what.
Chance are, if you (or your athlete) fall into this category – you are not reading this website…
Whereas at the Hawaii end of the spectrum
You’ve got some individuals that feel crippling amounts of anxiety in many aspects of their life. Their anxiety is not just limited to sports competitions and exams. They worry excessively about many areas of their life, most of the time.
This is known as ‘Generalized Anxiety Disorder‘
And although these individuals are the complete opposite of the Buckingham Palace guards, the common thread is that this website will be of limited use to them. I am not a mental health professional, and helping individuals at this end of the anxiety spectrum is beyond my skill-set.
Just like how most places on earth aren’t as consistently as cold as Antarctica, nor as consistently as hot as Hawaii, most athletes fall in-between being always unshakable and always anxious. Certain circumstances tend to make them more anxious, while other situations don’t bother them.
Here at Athlete Tutor, I teach these types of athletes how to first manage, and eventually prevent their situational performance anxiety.
- Performance anxiety occurs when your mind worries about having to deal with the consequences of screwing up.
- Common settings include: competitions, tests, public speaking, and asking someone on a date.
- The more intense and generalized (across many aspects of your life) your anxiety, the more you should STRONGLY consider seeking out professional help.
- Common physical and behavioral symptoms of performance anxiety
Is Performance Anxiety Common?
- Is performance anxiety normal, or is there just something wrong with you?
Why Do Athletes Get Performance Anxiety?
- A brief overview of some of the common causes of performance anxiety
Where Does Performance Anxiety Come From?
- What goes on in the body when you feel anxious
How Does Performance Anxiety Impact Athletes?
- The impact different amounts of performance anxiety has on performance outcomes
What Can Be Done To Address Performance Anxiety?
- The role-specific steps athletes, coaches, and parents can each take to manage & prevent performance anxiety